Thalerngsak Vongsamsorn, the minister counsellor for commercial affairs at the Thai embassy in Egypt, said that the Thai Minister of Commerce, Sontirat Sontijirawong, will visit Egypt in January 2019, adding that the embassy is arranging the agenda for the visit with the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and with other Egyptian partners.
Vongsamsorn informed Daily News Egypt that the embassy sent a five-year action plan to Egypt’s MTI, noting that the plan is expected to be signed over the minister’s scheduled visit next month, as well as to hold the Egyptian-Thai joint committee.
Furthermore, Vongsamsorn stated, “The Thai minister would like to visit Egypt before holding the general elections in Thailand on 24 February 2019,” noting, “Our five-year action plan includes many important sectors such as trade, investment, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and tourism.”
Egypt is Thailand’s main trading partner in North Africa, with a total annual trade of $1bn, according to the embassy’s statistics, with trade value in 2017 accounting for 40% of the total trade between Thailand and the North African countries, followed by Algeria with 23%; Libya with 13%; Morocco with 8%; Tunisia with 6%, and Sudan with 4%.
Thailand’s major exports to Egypt include automobiles and spare parts; canned tuna; rubber products; machinery and their spare parts; electrical appliances; chemical products, as well as others, while the major Egyptian imports to Thailand include iron and steel; fertilisers; fabrics; chemicals; garments cement, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, Sherif Yehia, assistant of the commercial attaché at the Thai embassy in Egypt, explained that representatives from Seagull, a Thai stainless steel company, have recently visited Egypt for one week.
Yehya noted that Seagull’s representatives met with Egyptian businesspersons and signed an exclusive contract with one of the Egyptian leading companies.
On 13 August, the ambassador of Thailand to Egypt, Chainarong Keratiyut-wong, said that his country has five strategies to promote Thailand’s international trade, which focus on a demand-driven marketing approach which responds to the market needs, and promotes outward investment in key competitive sectors. This includes for example, the hospitality industry which comprises of restaurants; hotels and spas; manufacturing industries; agro-based industries; the automotive industry, as well as spare parts.
The ambassador mentioned, “Our strategy focuses on promoting trade in services including retail; wholesale; construction; tourism; logistics and transport; developing value creation and innovation-driven enterprises, as well as cluster promotion,” adding, “We aim to further grow the five original industries which are the automotive; electronics; agricultural; food processing, and tourism, in addition to creating five new future industries namely the digital; robotic and automation; biofuels and biochemical; aviation and logistics, as well as a medical hub.”
Moreover, in 2017, about 25,000 Egyptians visited Thailand, according to the ambassador, adding that in the past five years, the numbers of Egyptian tourists to Thailand ranged from an annual 25,000 to 28,000, with about half of them visiting the country for their honeymoons.